Planners must change to avoid further humiliation

Date: Friday 8th June 2018

Sir, Given your weekly blow by blow coverage over the years of the antics of our council, as planning authority, it will come as no surprise to your readers that there is the possibility of our planners being placed under “special measures” (Herald, 26th May).

It may be a surprise to them, however, that it has taken so long for head office to intervene in the council’s well documented activities. Whether the yellow card will be converted to a red one remains to be seen.

The prospect of this ultimate indignity must surely give the council a clear warning that its way of doing things will no longer be tolerated and change must be initiated quickly to avoid further humiliation either at national or local level.

In the ominous circumstances described, it would be prudent for the council to avoid any further controversy from now on. Therefore, for example, I would urge it to discontinue the provocative Penrith masterplan exercise forthwith. As presently drafted, the signals are set for another train crash, one which would make New Squares seem like a gentle nudge on the buffers.

Far worse is the council’s declared view, and I quote, that “if the people of Penrith don’t want to have the prosperity and development, then it can go somewhere else”. This sounds like playground bullying to me and is guaranteed to alienate us at the outset. Hopefully, in the future, our council (our servants) will need to be more polite and circumspect.

In any case, I would have thought that the completion and approval of our long and eagerly awaited statutory local plan must be the council’s urgent priority. This would provide, among other things, a context and framework for any prospective redesign of our much loved town. The words “horse” and “cart” come forcibly to mind.

Readers may take comfort, having recoiled with disbelief and indignation at the masterplan shown in your front page story of 21st April, in the words of Robert Burns regarding the “best laid schemes”. Yours etc,

MIKE OLIVER

The Pinfold,

Lazonby.